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Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

tikkiopt.jpgI'm new here and figured I might as well jump right in! I need some input on pattern design. I've designed lots of bear patterns (I doodle them all the time), but let's face it, a bear is a bear is a bear. When I needed to make a ferret/mongoos type critter, I needed some serious help! I found a pattern in a book and made some alterations to my liking. I need to make several more changes before I will be happy with it.
Now, I know it's still not MY pattern, since I just altered it. But, let's say I put it away in a cabinet and draw one out by hand with all the changes I want. Obviously, it will look very similar to the one from the book. But, since I drew it myself, is it my pattern?
Just need your opinions.
Stephanie

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,980

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I LOVE ferrets . . . used to have one!  This one is super-terrific!!  In my opinion - yes, the pattern is yours.

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_flower At this point, I think it is your pattern, Stephanie!!  :thumbsup:

When I made my first original pattern from a clay model, I was a bit disappointed to see that the pieces looked almost exactly like all the bear pattern pieces in my books.

For the next bear, I drew the pieces freehand, after deciding on  the diameters and lengths of body pieces.
Same result--just about indistinguishable from the printed patterns!!

The only time I've used someone else's pattern, it was Nancy Tilberg's Antique Bear for the Teddies4Charity project. It came together much more easily than my learn-as-you-go originals, but I couldn't for the life of me tell you what the difference is between her pattern and mine.

Eilen

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

PS. Sue Ann, my little sister used to have ferrets too. She adopted her first after it jumped into her arms in a dark parking lot--somebody must have abandoned it there!!

Eileen

ellen ontario, canada
Posts: 324

welcome Stephanie!  sure, that would be your pattern - you drew it!  we're all influenced by what we see. 
and your ferret/mongoose is WONDERFUL!  so is your avatar bear.  love him!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Yup, I agree, it's your pattern! Once you tweek something to effect the final appearance it's no longer the original designer's pattern.

Eileen, yea, I noticed how easy Nancy's pattern went together... why IS that????????

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Hi..I hate to burst anyones bubble but I read in a book and was told by someone very knowledgable in this industry that if you take an exsisting pattern and alter it in any way, it is still considered a copyright infringement and you cannot call it an original.

BUT...if you draw out a design on your own than it is %100 your design.

Very nice ferret!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Guess we ought to look up copyright regulations to see what THEY say on the subject as they are the law....... regardless of what anyone thinks.

ellen ontario, canada
Posts: 324

sure, just altering somebody elses pattern would not make it yours -  but if you draw your own (perhaps from memory of another pattern) it must be yours.
no?
bear_noexpression

shantell Apple Dumpling Designs
Willamette Valley Oregon
Posts: 3,128

I have a hard time with the pattern copyright thing too...it's very confusing...one person will tell you one thing yet another will have another opinion.

Early on...I bought two patterns by two different artists.  I got them...and they are EXACTLY the same pieces.  Yeah, the instructions are written different etc...but you lay the pieces out on top of each other...SAME....like they are a carboncopy of each other.  And this came from a very reputable online place.

I asked this question before and didn't get much of a response...but how would anyone know....AND NO I WOULDN'T EVER COPY SOMEONES AND CLAIM IT AS MY OWN...for me that's part of the fun of bear art.   :lol:

So...coinkydink...or what?

And...darling ferret whether it's "your" design or not!!!

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

This may help....In Nancy Tillbergs Book "101 Bears  To Make"  on pages 180 and 181 is an article all about copyrights.   It is a very well written article and makes very good sense.  Nancy herself is in law enforcement has has reseached this fully.  To save time I would just like to write here one paragraph:

"What if you take a pattern from a book and resize it, and then change they type of fur used, the color of the eyes, and sign your name to it?  Is it now original?  No.  The Copyright Act refers to this as 'colorable imitaion'.  A colorable imitaition is an attempt to decive others into thinking that the work is original, by making minor changes.  Camouflaging, or modifyling someone elses work and signing your name to it, therefore is clearly an illegal deception."

It goes on to read much more.  I do think it is a very important topic and one that really should be understood by all who design thier own work.

I would like ot hear more form everyone here on this topic.....



Oh, and Stephanie, have you seen the movie, "Beast Master"  ?  The main cahracter has two ferrets.  That movie made me want to get a ferret....but my husband said if I did that he would sleep in the barn.  They are SOOOOO cute!   You could do some really nice shading on a white ferret like the one you have pictured.

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

Thanks all. I read that in Nancy Tillberg's book too. That's why I don't consider it mine even though I made a lot of changes to it. I put it away and sat down last night with some blank paper and scetched out my own. I must say, it doesn't look much like the original. I mean the general body shape is the same. A ferret IS a ferret after all. Then, just for kicks, I laid the original pattern over mine. I can definately say NOTHING lines up or matches! Besides, I don't want to make a 'knock-off' of this pattern, I specifically want to make a ferret different from it.
I have also been told about the mirror test, which I passed.
If you look in a mirror and can look yourself in the eyes and HONESTLY say, 'that is mine', then it is!
I know this is a pretty touchy subject with some people. And I don't EVER want to be accused of stealing someone else's pattern!
Stephanie

Stephanie Sassy Bears & Fabrics
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 196

OOPS! Forgot to say that this is technically NOT a ferret. It's a mongoos. I'm making a pair of them for my nephews for Christmas. I got the movie 'Rikki Tikki Tavi' to go with.

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

My kids love that movie!!!! That sounds like a wonderful Christmas idea!  They will love the movie, and how special to have a couple of mongoos (SP?)  made by their auntie!

Beary truly yours,
Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

DebbieD Posts: 3,540

Copywrite is indeed a very tricky subject.  My hubby didn't understand at first why I couldn't sell the bears I first made from some of Nancy's patterns.  "But you made it!" he said.  Yes, but its a bit like playing a piece of music.  I can play a concert piece from Mozart, but that doesn't mean I WROTE that concert piece.  Yes, playing it I make it mine by my style and interpretation, but the point is....I still did not write the piece, so its not mine.  THAT he understood. 

I've got to admit pattern making was not one of my favorite things when I first started.  I've never been taught properly, so its been a learning process via books.  But, I have to say that its getting easier, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing how the different changes in the patterns reflect in the differences in the bears.  I do think as an artist, its very important to use your own designs.....even if no one else ever realizes the difference. 

BYW, I think that mongoose is adorable! And your two nephews should be over the moon with their Christmas presents!!!  I think its very thoughtful of you  :hug:

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I love/hate this topic.  It's come up many, many times, across many boards, during my relatively short tenure in bearmaking, which of course, since I make "original, one of a kind" bears, includes pattern design.

My understanding of copyright is that any new pattern created by the alteration of an existing pattern, which would rely on that original pattern for its very existance, would be a pattern you could NOT call "yours," and would be a copyright infringement, as legally defined.

Stephanie... I see your point, too, though.  A bear is a bear is a bear... when it comes to pattern design.  For example:  Even though there are an infinite number of ways to design, say, a two-piece body pattern, it's still a body pattern, and it's still two pieces -- left and right side.  So... Even if you draw a two-piece body pattern freehand from scratch, the "concept" or "idea" of creating a two-piece body pattern, shaped sorta like a modified ellipse, with an opening left at the back, can't ever be called "original" or "yours", since it originated somewhere, a long time, and thus can't possibly be "original" to you.

The two-piece body pattern I create, for example, will look very similar to the two-piece body pattern you create... Daphne creates... Nancy creates... Judi creates.. Sue Ann creates... and so on.  These two-piece body patterns will differ, of course, in size, curve, angle, slope, roundness of their parts; but in the most important and notable of ways, they will be very similar to one another.

But... my understanding is that it's not copyright infringement if I'm using this general knowledge I have acquired over time, of how to construct a two-piece body pattern (with 2 pieces, a left and right side, and an opening left at the back,) to create something entirely new, freehand, from my head and hands and heart, without direct consultation to, or amendment of, existing patterns of any kind, to assist my design process. 

In short, Stephanie... yeah, now that you've made someone else's ferret/mongoose pattern (or whatever), and now that you've seen how someone else designed their pattern, OF COURSE you cannot erase from your head the overall design concept, proportions, etc! 

But it's my feeling, which I think is backed by law, that if you take what's in your head and then, freehand, using only your heart and mind and pen and paper, draw your own pattern of a ferret/mongoose, without consultation to or amendment of the original pattern designed by someone else, then you can very rightly call that new pattern "yours."  In other words, it's not the biggest-possible-picture "concept" or "idea" that has the copyright, but rather, the direct, on-paper, recorded representation of that "concept" or "idea" -- and all the recorded shapes and angles and forms that accompany that SPECIFIC recorded representation -- that is copyrighted.  And also... any minor variations on or amendments to that SPECIFIC recorded representation.

You know, I make my bear ears by cutting a perfect circle, then folding it in half and sewing closed.  I'm sure ten gajillion other bearmakers have done it that way, too.  It makes sense to make ears that way, and it's simple, and means you have to cut out less pattern pieces to stitch together.  Does that mean I'm infringing on someone's copyright in making circle ears and then calling them part of an all-original pattern design?  I don't think so, because I didn't take someone else's circle ears and compare them to my own when I designed my ear pattern; I didn't use someone else's circle ears as a guideline; I didn't simply lift the idea of using circle ears from someone else's pattern; I don't have any direct evidence that other people use circles for their ear patterns.  I just drew them freehand, to match the proportions of a head pattern I similarly drew freehand.  Adn so, I feel very safe in calling those circle ear patterns "mine."

If I am incorrect in this, someone more knowledgeable, please knock me up side the head.  But I think this is the "correct" -- meaning legal AND ethical -- way to look at it.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Copyright Laws protect "derivative works"... meaning as Shelli said "any minor variations on or amendments to that SPECIFIC recorded representation"... or copyrighted pattern.

www.copyright.gov has all the answers if you can sift through it all.

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Great reference, Daphne... and even better summary.  I think all that turkey went to my head and stuffed it right up such that I was even more long-winded than usual.  Dotting all the "i's" and crossing all the "t's"; that's my cursed obsession.  <sigh>

bear_original  Thank you for simplifying and clarifying!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website

Oh, Shelli, I wasn't doing anything more than reconfirming what you said and throwing out some of the 'language' that the gov't uses. I think that your stuffed explination was perfect for those of us that need it all spelled out. Myself included! To be honest, the legal launguage was rather dry.... I liked your explination MUCH better!  bear_grin  bear_thumb Some obsessions are good!  :hug:

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

I got this from the UK government Copyright  website where they say that to claim copyright on something 'It simply has to be the result of independent intellectual effort'

I think that no teddy bear, no matter who designed it  these days is totally the result of 'independent effort 'since we have all taken some inspiration from other artist works and unless we live on the moon then it's hard not to. It the uniqueness of the design for me that defines the artists right to claim it's originality...if you make a mongoose that looks like a real mongoose...or a cat that looks like a real cat...or a bear that looks like a real bear no-one can claim you copied their design coz it ain't their 'design', is it! But if you make a bear that has all the original, unique, one-off features that someone else has thought up for their bears...then that's copying...unless you can prove that you thought of it too.

But if we make bears that look like teddy bears then someone, somewhere in the world is going to be making bears that look similar to ours...they aren't infringing copyright...because in all likelihood they haven't even heard of us.

I took my drawings for my rabbit patterns from real rabbits...photographs that I got from books , from the internet and from a couple of old pictures of pet rabbits. I drew my pattern using knowledge I've gained from reading books on bear making...and from my instinct about size and shape. How do I prove it though? I can't. Would I copyright it? No...because what's the point...it's not unique...it's a rabbit. As far as taking advice from a book then using it, I think you should read it and take in the subject  matter, then go ahead and utilise what you learned...that's what books are for.

Shelli is right...I hate this subject since it has caused me much pain at times..and love it because I have so much to say about it. One thing is sure though, the debate will run and run as there are no answers to it.

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

Shelli, I'm just impressed you can draw a circle free hand! :lol:

This has been quite an enlightning topic. :clap:

Helen Out 'n About Bears
Poole, Dorset, England
Posts: 88

Hello everyone

Being relatively new to bear making (and designing), I too have wondered and wondered about this topic!  I have Nancy Tillberg's book, and also did her on line class in designing.  ( I had to---I knew absolutely nothing about drawing, designing, or even about the proportions of bears!!).

I haven't made a bear from a pattern for some months now, but I buy the magazines, and , naturally, look at the patterns.  To be quite frank, a lot of them dont really look very different from each other--------which makes me wonder what all the fuss about originality is about!!  Every artist who publishes a pattern will say that it is original , but if you compare all these heads, bodies, arms and legs, they often look much the same!

When I first made up my latest design, it looked like a traditional-style ted, much like other traditional teds--but it really was my own design, nevertheless!  Then, I made another, from the same pattern, and, because I used different fur, it looked completely different.  I doubt if anyone would even know for sure that it was from exactly the same pattern.    Ten different bear makers, making a bear from the same pattern, will all end up with something different, because they will use different materials, and finish off the bears differently.  So, isnt "artistry" also something to do with one's own interpretations, one's own touches, even to somebody else's pattern?

Going back to the analogy with musicians, every pianist will play a certain piano concerto a bit differently.  I'm no musician myself, but my hubby knows a lot about music, and so do his friends.  They call pianists "artists".  Same with violinists, cellists, singers, and the rest.  It doesn't matter that they are playing pieces composed by other people, the way they play them determines (apparently) how "musical " and "artistic" they are.

Confusing, isnt it?

Have a good weekend

Helen

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

Eileen, yea, I noticed how easy Nancy's pattern went together... why IS that????????

I think Nancy's pattern went together without a hitch, even when the proportions were altered, because she's already worked out all the hitches!!  :lol:

From all this great information, I gather that the copyright laws are quite literal-minded. So you could study other people's patterns to see (for example) how different gusset shapes alter the shape of the head--but to call the gusset your own, you would have to redraw your own gusset on the basis of the lessons learned?? I'm not sure that's even a sentence, but so long as "your" bear is not literally made from anyone else's altered pattern, it's "yours", right?

I'm still having trouble with the two-dimensional to three-dimensional process, which I guess comes only with experience. It helps to work out proportions based on on the diameters-in-relation-to-lengths I want to produce, but I still can't 'see' the thing without a clay model. Blessings on the head of whoever invented the scanner. Without it, I'd be making some really BIG clay models!

Eileen

Jennie Teddybears Sweden
Gavle, Sweden
Posts: 751

Oh, that's a great ferret! I have been thinking of doing a ferret pattern on my own, maybe you have gotten some tips?

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